'I do not agree that Tipu Sultan was a freedom fighter', says Yediyurappa
'Removing Tipu Sultan's references from text books is akin to subverting history' Siddaramaiah said
Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa on Wednesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government will remove any mention of the controversial 18th century ruler, Tipu Sultan, from all text books as well as cancel celebrations of his birth anniversary.
“We are going to drop everything, even in textbooks…I do not agree that Tipu Sultan was a freedom fighter," Yediyurappa told reporters after an interaction in the Press Club of Bengaluru. His statements come days ahead of the state sponsored Tipu Jayanti, observed on 10 November across the state.
This year, the annual slugfest over the controversial ruler was triggered by BJP legislator M.P. Apachu Ranjan when he wrote to the government, asking to remove all references of Tipu Sultan from text books in the state.
The state government’s move is expected to unleash another round of political fracas between the Congress and the BJP over the legacy of the controversial ruler at a time when Karnataka is reeling under its worst floods in over a century.
While the Congress has maintained Tipu Sultan was a national hero, fighting the British and allowing religious diversity to thrive during his rule, the BJP views him as a tyrant who indulged in mass murders, torture, forced conversions to Islam, citing stories of atrocities against communities such as the Kodavas, Brahmins, and Christians, among others.
Though the BJP and Yediyurappa, among other leaders, have in the past been part of events that celebrated Tipu Sultan, their main contention has been whether it requires to be a government sponsored event.
“Removing Tipu Sultan's references from text books is akin to subverting history," Siddaramaiah said in response to Yediyurappa’s statement. “Is it a lie that Tipu fought the British or not? Can we change this then. We should teach children about history."
Tipu Sultan was born on 10 November 1750 at Devanahalli, in the outskirts of Bengaluru, and was the ruler of Mysore from 1782 till his death in 1799.